In Which The Plotter Decides To Plants


April 28, 2013 by Ifeoma Dennis

One out of two of my outlining notebooks... and my laptop :)

One out of two of my outlining notebooks… and my laptop 🙂


“First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.
-Cecil Day-Lewis.

No quote rang truer this past week for me.

(Just a side note: I think one of the issues that went wrong with my first MS, BLUED was that I wrote it to be understood, not to understand).

I’m a plotter— because I love having that security of knowing that one day I will get to the end and won’t be stopped on the road by Writer’s Block—but writing DOT is different.

I’ve covered my character outlines (names, history, quirks etc) but the plot outline is taking some time.
And this is the reason why- I don’t know much of the world of my characters to move the scenes forward (which might sound absurd or even unserious because it’s fantasy, so their world is my making… right?)

I realize now I cannot know their world by just plotting scene after scene without writing. Learning comes with each chapter I write (I’ve written just two out of a proposed thirty), with every new word I type.

In a way, it’s like I’m reading my own book.
And I know it would take the whole of the first draft before I ever get to that point where I can feel- YES, I KNOW THIS WORLD. I LIVE WITH THEM.

So I’ll take my time with DOT. Maybe one year, maybe less. But one day, it will get done.
And the day DOT gets done, I can truly say, “Yes, I know my characters. I know their world. I understand.



8 thoughts on “In Which The Plotter Decides To Plants

  1. I’m a total pantser – the moment I really plot something I lose interest in it. My writing partner, on the other hand, is a plotter, so it’s been interesting creating Mystic Cooking together because our styles of working are so different, but I kind of like it – I can continue my pantser ways and still have some sort of plot structure to fall back on. 😉 But I definitely agree with you – I think it’s impossible to really know your world until you start writing it. Even after plotting details, things are going to come up in the writing that will deepen the author’s understanding of that world and those characters. To me, that’s the best part. 🙂

  2. You’re much better than I am. I actually stopped plotting once I started working on my fantasy series. 😀

  3. I love the quote you have at the top. I’m the same way. I’ve been trying to figure out plot points and conflicts in my head for my next MS, but I can’t. I’m at the point where I need to start writing so I can figure out my sci-fi world a bit better. I also love your optimism at the end of this! So glad to have met you recently!

  4. This is so well said! Sometimes, even when I’ve plotted and outlined, while I write my story will pull me in a different direction. I’m learning to trust that organic feeling because it brings the story to a level I never imagined. It’s good to let the words come alive to guide us in forming our novels. Loved this post! Thank you!

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"Dreams can get you through anything."

-Cat York


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Writing progress


First Draft:

93210 / 90000 words. 104% done!

Second Draft:

40482 / 90000 words. 45% done!

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